Editor’s NOTE: “But we’re not a Democracy – we are a Republic.” Hundreds of times over the past quarter century I have heard this. Well, Yes – we ARE a Republic, which functions under a Democratic form of government. Go find an old Black’s Law Dictionary (1823 I believe) and you will discover that there is no way to separate those two words. They are intertwined like peanut butter and jelly. ~ Ed.
What is American democracy, and why is it worth defending? The current political climate, in which democracy is increasingly (and troublingly) equated with populism, compels us to reflect on this question. Democracy is an ancient form of government, but historically, democracies that rise above mere mob rule and reflect genuine self-governance, while respecting basic rights, are rare. Although the Declaration of Independence asserts the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are self-evident, they’ve been embodied and respected in few societies throughout human history. By comparison, the US government does a reasonably good job at protecting those rights. Continue reading
In 1912 Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic candidate for president, promised fairness and justice for blacks if elected. In a letter to a black church official, Wilson wrote, “Should I become President of the United States they may count upon me for absolute fair dealing for everything by which I could assist in advancing their interests of the race.” Continue reading
For several years now, certain groups and websites like Worldnewsstand have advocated an argument that the “federal” government was created as a municipal corporation via an act of February 21, 1871. The truth is otherwise.
There is a history regarding the formation of Washington, D.C. The Constitution specifically provides for the formation of a district, 10 miles square, to be the seat of the federal government; see Art. 1, § 8, cl. 17. When the Constitution was ratified, the defacto seat of that government was in Philadelphia. The Residence Act of 1790 (1 Stat. 130, July 16, 1790), started the process of establishing the District of Columbia; in the interim, the government continued to meet in Philadelphia. On December 19, 1791, Maryland adopted “An Act concerning the territory of Columbia, and the City of Washington,” which ceded lands and jurisdiction for the Maryland part of the District. Continue reading
With talk of secession heating up, a look back on the causes of America’s (first?) Civil War.
As I type, the secession movement in California is picking up steam. Polling shows that one in three Californians support leaving the Union following Donald Trump’s victorious presidential campaign, and an organization–YesCalifornia.org–is circulating a petition calling for a special election that would allow Californians to vote for or against independence.
The movement is unlikely to succeed, at least for now. Still, the secession question would seem to present an opportunity to look back on causes and conditions that led to America’s Civil War.
Obviously, it’s difficult to separate slavery from any discussion on the Civil War. The peculiar institution hovers over the conflict specter-like. Indeed, it’s an apparition that still haunts modern American politics. But to say that slavery was the sole cause of the Civil War overlooks other stark differences that divided the North and South in the lead-up to it. Historians have speculated that even had the slavery question been resolved peacefully, war or secession still might have occurred during the westward expansion. Continue reading
Let’s Try Something A Little Bit Different
I want to do something a little bit different this time around. Instead of me just rambling on, while inserting a quote here or there, this time I want to share with you some select passages from the classic book, The Law, by Frédéric Bastiat. It is my belief that if a majority of the people could learn, and apply, what I’m about to share with you we could easily fix what’s wrong in this country without the need for any kind of violent revolution or suffering; well, the only people who would suffer are those who use government to plunder the wealth and liberty of everyone else.
Bastiat wasn’t a Founding Father, nor was he an American, but that shouldn’t preclude you from having an open mind to what he has to say. Also, Bastiat wrote his book after the Colonies had obtained their independence and established our current system of government, so it should be read with that thought in mind. Continue reading
Editor’s NOTE: The past is prologue. The stories we tell about ourselves and our forebears inform the sort of country we think we are and help determine public policy. As our current president promises to “make America great again,” this moment is an appropriate time to reconsider our past, look back at various eras of United States history and re-evaluate America’s origins. When, exactly, were we “great”?
A cropped version of Dorothea Lange’s iconic image of Florence Owens Thompson and some of her children, photographed at a California migrant camp in 1936. “Migrant Mother,” laden with trouble, would come to be seen as a depiction of the mood of a nation gripped by the Great Depression.
FDR was neither radical nor conservative, no matter what his defenders and critics claimed, both then and now. One part “traitor to his class” and another part defender of capitalism, he was both dangerously power hungry and the savior of American-style liberal democracy. This man was—like his party’s co-founder, Thomas Jefferson—an enigma, an unknowable sphinx. And yet he was the man for his moment. Indeed, FDR and his “New Deal,” as both a response to economic depression and reorganization of society, represent one of the most profound transitions in U.S. history. FDR served as president (1933-45) longer than anyone before or since, elected four times by wide margins. His opponents feared the man, and his supporters canonized him with rare and remarkable passion. Continue reading
Some in Virginia bemoan losing Collingwood, a Potomac River landmark
The Collingwood mansion, which sits on farmland once owned by George Washington. Washington bought the Collingwood property in 1760, after he married the widow Martha Dandridge Custis.
A historic mansion on farmland once owned by George Washington is set to be demolished, a loss bemoaned by some in Virginia.
The Collingwood mansion, located on almost nine acres of land along the Potomac River about four miles north of Mount Vernon, was once part of Washington’s sprawling estate, which included five farms, nearly 8,000 acres and up to 200 enslaved people. Part of the mansion may have been built to house one of Washington’s overseers, local historians believe. Continue reading
Up until a year ago, Federal Observer had a category named, Sunset Boulevard, which was used for columns dealing with film, or the lessons which film taught us on life. The following is the first post in this year that I felt was worth publishing – for numerous reasons – the historical accuracy that was depicted. Right or wrong, Left or Right, North or South…. this is not what matters here. The lessons here belong to Mr. Adair. ~ Ed.
On Sunday and on July 24 (2019), Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events are presenting big-screen showings in theaters nationwide of “Glory,” in honor of the 30-year anniversary of its release. The greatest movie ever made about the American Civil War, “Glory” was the first and, with the exception of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” the only film that eschewed romanticism to reveal what the war was really about.
The story is told through the eyes of one of the first regiments of African American soldiers. Almost from the time the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter, S.C., the issue of black soldiers in the Union army was hotly debated. On Jan. 1, 1863, as the country faced the third year of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, rapidly accelerating the process of putting black men into federal blue. Continue reading
In 1932 and 1933, millions died across the Soviet Union – and the foreign press corps helped cover up the catastrophe.
LVIV, UKRAINE: Shadows of people burying dozens of coffins in a mass grave are seen on November 25th, 2006 during a day of remembrance for up to 10 million people who starved to death in the great famine of 1932-33, in the city of Zhovkva. SERGEI SUPINSKY / GETTY
In the years 1932 and 1933, a catastrophic famine swept across the Soviet Union. It began in the chaos of collectivization, when millions of peasants were forced off their land and made to join state farms. It was then exacerbated, in the autumn of 1932, when the Soviet Politburo, the elite leadership of the Soviet Communist Party, took a series of decisions that deepened the famine in the Ukrainian countryside. Despite the shortages, the state demanded not just grain, but all available food. Continue reading
Fifty years ago today, I was home on leave from my first tour of the Garden of Eden – Viet Nam – and was staying with my Aunt Muffin and her then husband Chuck in North Hollywood, California. What you are about to watch is what I watched that day, as many millions of us did. ~ Ed.
Fifty years ago today, Apollo 11 was launched by a Saturn V rocket, carrying Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, the first humans to step foot on the Moon. Apollo 11 launched at 13:32 UTC on July 16, 1969. Armstrong set foot on the Moon on July 21 at 02:56:15 UTC. Continue reading
Did you know that the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery did not apply to ALL slaves?
Most see slavery as a simple black-vs.-white issue. But those who do may not realize that the “Five Civilized Tribes” of the southeast — Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole — also participated in the institution of slavery. Continue reading
~ Introduction ~
You believe that you are free. You believe that we have a representative form of government. You believe that the Civil War was fought to end slavery. You believe George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were great Presidents. You believe all manner of things, but my question to you is; what are your beliefs based upon? Are they based upon what you have been told or taught, or are they founded in fact and truth?
You have attended history and civics classes and that makes you think that you know the truth. Well I’m here to tell you that you are not in possession of the truth; you have been lied to and manipulated so that you will more readily accept your status as a ‘free range slave.’
Historians lie; they omit facts which contradict their own personal agenda; they provide you with partial quotes and details which provide no context for them. The further we travel from the occurrence of an event the more the story about it becomes distorted and convoluted as each ‘historian’ deletes and twists the narrative to fit their agenda. If you want the truth about anything, you are going to have to dig; dig back to the source documents from the time the events occurred and seek out the truth for yourselves. Continue reading
The dictatorship of the bankers and their debt-money system are not limited to one country, but exist in every country in the world. They are working to keep their control tight, since one country freeing itself from this dictatorship and issuing its own interest- and debt-free currency, setting the example of what an honest system could be, would be enough to bring about the worldwide collapse of the bankers’ swindling debt-money system.
This fight of the International Financiers to install their fraudulent debt-money system has been particularly vicious in the United States of America since its very foundation, and historical facts show that several American statesmen were well aware of the dishonest money system the Financiers wanted to impose upon America and of all of its harmful effects. These statesmen were real patriots, who did all that they possibly could to maintain for the USA an honest money system, free from the control of the Financiers. The Financiers did everything in their power to keep in the dark this facet of the history of the United States, for fear that the example of these patriots might still be followed today. Here are some facts that the Financiers would like the population NOT to know… Continue reading
Frederic Bastiat’s “The Law,” written near the end of his life in 1850 France, is a symphony of ideas.
My high school economic students are reading their first book of the year, one that is close to the hearts of liberty lovers: Frederic Bastiat’s The Law, written near the end of his life in 1850 France. This is my third year teaching it to freshmen, and I find it more and more excellent every time I read it. The words and arguments come off the pages like notes and melodies, and it feels like a symphony of ideas.
Its first movement is powerful and audacious, beginning with a blasting fanfare of our natural, God-given rights. From nature we are granted life—physical, intellectual, and moral. Life alone cannot sustain itself, so we must apply the talents and faculties given to us by nature to develop, preserve, and perfect our lives. Continue reading
James Madison, the father of the U.S. Constitution and primary author of the Bill of Rights, repeatedly emphasized that the United States is a “republic” and not a “democracy.” In stark contrast, Jonathan Bernstein, a Bloomberg columnist and former political science professor recently insisted:
“One of this age’s great crank ideas, that the U.S. is a ‘republic’ and not a ‘democracy’, is gaining so much ground that people in Michigan are trying to rewrite textbooks to get rid of the term ‘democracy’.”
“For all practical purposes, and in most contexts, ‘republic’ and ‘democracy’ are synonyms.” Continue reading
Through reading the works of Charles Dickens, we may be inspired to take a closer look at our own priorities and come to a deeper understanding of our inability to embody perfectly our own ideals…
Buss, Robert William; Dickens’s Dream; Charles Dickens Museum, London; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/dickenss-dream-191221
Throughout the career of the esteemed literary giant Charles Dickens, selfless love as opposed to selfishness served as an underlying theme in his novels. In the characters of Nicholas Nickleby, Lucie Manette, Bob Cratchitt, Cissy Jupe, and many others, Dickens illustrated the proper understanding and execution of selfless love. On the other hand, in story after story, he condemned those who prioritized their own gain over the good of providing aid to others; Ralph Nickleby, Josiah Bounderby, and Wackford Squeers are a few examples. Continue reading
Accurate history is the first causality in any establishment account of events and their significance. When the fundamental chronicles of national heritage is purged and supplanted with a total reversal of the nature of America’s essence, the public is browbeaten into adopting a phony and destructive departure from traditional values and purpose. The intense disparaging of the America First Committee and their vigorous defense of the Originalist Perspective for a non-interventionist foreign policy was a profound departure from constitutional restraint and limited Presidential authority. Continue reading